Lingua: The Making of a Global Online Translation Project

Lingua ProjectEver wonder how to get dozens of people to work together over the internet to collaborate on translations to multiple languages? In nearly two years Global Voices’ Lingua translation community has grown to include 15 different languages (7 more up-and-coming!) and over 75 volunteer translators. Honestly, we're astounded by the growth ourselves.

In December 2006, bloggers attending the Global Voices Summit in Delhi decided to create a project that would enable volunteer translators to make selected Global Voices posts available in different languages. In just two years, we now have websites in Bangla, French, Arabic, Albanian, Chinese, and many other languages.

Leonard Chien in Taiwan, is co-manager of Lingua with Portnoy Zheng. He has created an interactive timeline mapping the growth of the project, including the first translation in each language, key partnerships with other organizations, media coverage of the project, and interviews with participants.

Slide the green dot to the right to read entries on the timeline. Click on entries to read more details about each item.

New volunteers have appeared from all corners of the world to help collaborate on this project. An email to Lingua from an interested translator is the simple first step to getting involved. Each language group works autonomously to get translations done, and everyone works together in email groups to decide on the joint direction of the project. Many translators wind up authoring posts on Global Voices and vice versa.

Claire Ulrich, who manages Global Voices in French, created this map of the Lingua translators community.

View Larger Map

Please join Lingua if you have the skills and times to make a contribution. Everyone is welcome and the community is full of wonderful people. Email us! (at the bottom of this page)


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.